Godhra carnage & our media 

S Gurumurthy


 If Gujarat is on fire today, and the country is witnessing fits of communal outburst the secular class has to accept its own share of blame.



   Commenting on the roasting alive of 60 persons inside the Sabarmati Express in Godhra in Gujarat, she said, ``it is saddening and strange that when such acts are perpetrated against the minorities all political leaders rush'' to condemn. But when the majority is attacked, ``not a single political leader'' condemns it.

She rubbed it in further.``It is not as if crime is a crime only if it is committed against the minorities, and not so if it is committed against the majority community.'' She is also a politician. She is all set to become the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu again. That is Jayalalithaa.

Indeed a stunning admonition of the secular pack by one from within. She has exposed and shamed the entire political class by this single statement. She has shown the courage to speak out on the malaise in our secular polity. But the malaise runs deeper.

It is not confined to politics. It extends to the entire secular class. And a large intellectual class. It is founded on pseudo-intellectualism and pseudo-secularism that presently form the foundation of the public discourse. Let us analyse this in its full dimension.

The reaction of Indian seculars to the gruesome killing of over 58 persons in the train in Godhra was predictable. From Star TV, for which anti-India campaigns are a hobby, to every small English newspaper, virtually it is the dead, that is, `the Ram sevaks', who provoked the mob to kill them. Their thrust: ``The Ram Sevaks shouted provocative, abusive slogans.'' So goes their report. ``The local people in Muslim-dominated Godhra got irritated'. This virtually rationalises the rest. It means this: ``Yes, the roasting of a hundred men, women and children is unfortunate, wrong, condemnable, but inevitable.'' That is, the Ram sevaks invited it upon themselves.

Look at the first facts. The Sabarmati Express stops in Godhra for just three minutes. In three minutes a large mob of thousands of people cannot gather. It has to be a planned attack. From what the Home Secretary of Gujarat says and the news reports, a common thread emerges.

First, when the train approached Godhra, some people had thrown stones at it. At this point there was no question of any provocative slogans being heard by anyone. Because, from a moving train nothing decipherable can be heard.

Second, as soon as the train started moving out of the station, after its three minutes' halt, some one _ unknown _ pulled the chain and stopped it. It is said that it could be the handiwork of an attacker who had got into the train. The train stopped near the signal point. It is unlikely that passengers who were being stoned would stop the train to invite being hit. Particularly when the train had many women and children. They would have only liked the train to move away as fast as possible from the place. So the miscreant who stopped the train could not be the victim. He could only be the attacker.

Third, as soon as the train stopped the mob did the rest. It rained stones on passengers. One of the coaches was doused with kerosene and petrol and set on fire. The fire, say reports, spread to more compartments. Many passengers jumped out. But those who could not, some 25 women and 15 children, were burnt to death.

The sequence establishes not a spontaneous outburst as the seculars in the media attempt to make it out. It does establish a pre-meditated plan to attack the train. The secular media virtually rationalises the killings.

Imagine it was the other way round. The passengers had been Muslims, and the attackers Hindus. All hell would have broken loose. ``Hindu fundamentalists, blood thirsty Bajrang Dal goons on the rampage.'' ``National shame.'' There would have been a national shutdown. Leader after leader and party after party would have trooped towards Godhra and Ahmedabad. There would have been global condemnation. The nation as a whole would have stood condemned.

As chance would have it, those killed were only Hindus, irrelevant to secular India. If a Christian church in thatched roof were attacked, Christian governments in the west to US would pounce on us. If it were Muslims the entire Muslim world would converge on us. Because the burnt were Hindus there was no such danger of any one protesting too much. Even more fortunately, those killed were after all Ram sevaks, Hindu bigots. After all those who attacked them had enough justification because the Ram sevaks were provoking them. So no one was at fault, except those who provoked their own death. Like a victim of rape having invited it upon her.

Compare the Godhra carnage with what happened when some tribals torched Staines and his children in Orissa. Hell broke loose. The entire country was set upon and came to a halt.``Hindu Fundamentalists, RSS-VHP-Bajrang Dal'' goons have snuffed out a great social worker, shouted the secular megaphones _ the media, leaders and parties. Thanks to the media in India and missionaries, the entire world abused India as a country.

Then came the report of the Wadhwa Commission on the Staines murder. The former Supreme Court judge ruled out the involvement of RSS or VHP or Bajrang Dal. He also held Staines responsible for effecting conversions, which was disliked by the local tribals. The findings completely falsified the concoctions of the secular media and the minority religious leaders. But the damage had been done. We were projected as a nation of religious bigots. Not a single word of regret from the media, which destroyed the nation's image in its enthusiasm to finish off the Hindu movements.

The same was the case in Jhabua rape. It was established to be an intra-tribal and intra-Christian affair. But the secular media and the minorities blamed the Hindus and RSS. Even after the truth was established the secular media would not report it, much less express regret.

Every such concocted charge demeaned India and destroyed its brand. All thanks to the despicable role of the seculars in the media and the minority religious leaders. Christian nations of Europe who had in the past baked over 9 million women as witches and eliminated over 140 million native Americans to create the present Christian US - a historic fact which Bill Clinton recalled in the wake of the World Trade Center attack as what is haunting the US even now _ are advising us about religious harmony.

So unlike the Jhabua rape, and the hyped Staines murder, the killing of a hundred Hindus will fortunately not smear the honour of India. For, those women and children, who have been reduced to ashes alive in Godhra, are not Christians or Muslims. So the nation's name will not be tarnished. No one outside India will ask a question, as fortunately there is no Hindu nation in the world. No one will ask a question for they happen to be not just Hindus, but also Ram sevaks. Their right of existence is lost once they provoked the attackers. So even after being torched alive, the Ram sevaks will have to share the blame for their death.

This is the real face of secularism as practised in India, of the secular media, of the secular leaders and of the secular polity. This is what the Ayodhya movement questioned. It is not just a movement for a temple. A temple could not integrate the Hindus as it has done. It is far more. Thanks to this the nation woke up to the pseudo among the seculars. But still the pseudo masquerades as the real. Perhaps the Ayodhya movement will continue as long as the very notion of secularism _ and who is the real secular and who is the pseudo _ is not defined, only to question it. If Gujarat is on fire today, and the country is witnessing fits of communal outburst the secular class has to accept its own share of blame.

Jayalalithaa has implicitly condemned the entire secular class, not just the political leaders. Rightly. Will they be shamed into accepting the truth?